Dagenham & Redbridge

Getty Images

James Collins injured in West Ham friendly

Leave a comment

West Ham defender James Collins hobbled off the field in the 29th minute of the Hammers’ friendly against Dagenham & Redbridge on Wednesday, a big blow to the club’s already paper-thin back line.

With the league on an international break, West Ham agreed to play a friendly against Dagenham & Redbridge to help raise money for National League club that could be in serious financial trouble. However, it could be detrimental to the short-term future of the Hammers, who are hoping to stave off relegation, sitting just two points above the drop.

The 34-year-old defender has missed significant time this season due to injury, with an ankle injury keeping Collins out for nearly three months in 2017. West Ham has lost just four of the 12 Premier League matches Collins has appeared in this season, with three clean sheets. However, two of those have come in the club’s last three games, thrashed by a combined 7-1 scoreline between 90 minutes against Liverpool and Burnley.

The injury comes at the worst possible time, with West Ham set to play Southampton in a critical relegation matchup between teams in the in 17th and 18th in the Premier League table. The Hammers are already without defender Winston Reid who remains out for the season with a knee injury, while the club sold center-back Jose Fonte to Chinese club Dalian Yifang F.C. in late February.

West Ham was hoping to do its part to help save the London club. Former director Glyn Hopkin abruptly resigned and pulled all financial backing in early February, leaving the club fearing for its immediate future. They reportedly need $353,000 just to stay afloat the rest of the season, even with zero club debt.

WATCH: More biting bans! English striker gets second ban in as many years

1 Comment

Second suspension, greater than the first.

League Two striker Joss Labadie has been suspended for the second time in two years for biting an opponent, and this time the punishment has gone up.

Labadie, 24, will miss six months for biting defender Ronnie Henry of Stevenage last month. His first suspension came last March — there are Zombies jokes to be made about how it’s the time of the season for biting — and was protested by his then club, Torquay United.

[ MORE: Noteworthy bites worldwide ]

Hard to imagine it “didn’t” happen a second time, especially given the video, though from the looks of it Henry wasn’t ghosting past his attacker like Giorgio Chiellini. There’s an argument to be made the Stevenage man put his hand in Labadie’s mouth — as if to goad a known biter? — but that shouldn’t matter, we suppose.

Anyway, six months out is the ruling. I honestly cannot believe how wide the biting floodgates have opened. This the day after Mario Mandzukic and Dani Carvajal said they didn’t have a Champions League biting incident.

Premier League Player of the Week – Dwight Gayle (Video)

1 Comment

In Week Three one man shown bright above all others and that was Crystal Palace winger, Dwight Gayle.

Gayle’s pace, desire and nose for goal made him a menace for the Sunderland defense this past weekend and in the 78th minute his efforts paid off when John O’Shea brought the 22 year old down from behind for a penalty.

Gayle’s momentum saw him take quite a tumble on O’Shea’s foul but the Arsenal youth product had no problem dusting of his knees and stepping to the spot to take the penalty. With the match knotted at one apiece, it was a big moment.

As Gayle waited for the referee to blow his whistle, Sunderland’s Adam Johnson was “giving [him] a bit of stick” in a bid to ramp up his nerves. It didn’t work as Gayle smashed his effort just below the diving Kieren Westwood to mark the first Premier League goal of his career.

Gayle celebrated the goal with a playful airplane celebration, much to the delight of a raucous Selhurst Park. Four minutes later manager Ian Holloway gave Gayle his bow for a full days work, substituting him off in front of a standing ovation.

Gayle’s story is one to behold. After his release from Arsenal as a teenager he moved to Essex Senior League side Stansted in 2009, where he played two seasons before being scooped up by League Two side Dagenham & Redbridge in 2011.

D&R immediately loaned Gayle out to Bishop’s Stortford in the Conference North where he netted an incredible 42 goals in 55 appearances. He thereafter returned to play for the Daggers where he was soon secured on loan by Championship side Peterborough United where his impressive form, scoring 13 times in 29 appearances, earned him a permanent transfer.

This past July, Palace paid a club record $13 million (£8.5m) to Peterborough for the rights to Gayle and three weeks into the season, it looks to be money well spent.

It’s not often that a player rises from non-league football to the Premier League in a matter of two years. And for that, and his efforts in the victory over Sunderland, Dwight Gayle is the Premier League Player of the Week.